Is there anything better during the summer than a beach read? Something fun, light and romantic to make you feel good, especially while sipping a glass of rosé (if you are looking for one, I had a delightful crisp & dry one last night called Bieler Père et Fils Rosé, which I hear retails for a no-excuse-not-to-buy price of $11).
Even if you cannot make it to the beach this year, and just have to settle for reading in your hammock in the backyard like me, these books will help you feel summer-ready! What are your favorite summer reads this year? Help me find more books to love!
Here are my Top 5 2015 Summer Beach Reading Recommendations*
The Rosie Project, by Graeme C. Simsion
For full disclosure, I read this book pre-summer. But it was during a time that I was in the mood for books that made me happy and the Rosie Project fit that bill. Partly because of the title, it was a rather obvious story that you can predict from the start. However, that does not make the path to the end any less interesting to read. Don Tillman is kind, funny and awkward in all of the best ways. I found myself rooting for him to find love and figure out how to make things work with Rosie. If you are in the market for a lighthearted book that *spoiler alert* has a happy ending, this is a good one.
800 Grapes, by Laura Dave
From the moment I heard about this book, I knew that it was going to be a worthy summer read for me. I suspected by the synopsis it was classic chic-lit, but set against a Sonoma background interweaving winemaking with it, how could this not be amazing? Curl up with a good Pinot Noir (preferably from Sonoma, if available) and you will fly through this story of Georgia, who is the type of woman who would rather fix everyone’s else in her family’s problems than looking deeper into who she has become and where she may truly belong (and with whom she may belong!). In the end, it is a story about family, allowing them to navigate their own path and forgiveness among those we love. While reading, I hoped that the ending would not be quite as predictable as it was heading toward (it was, but that is why we love chic-lit), but the journey and the lessons still resonate and the story is perfect for summer – happy, interesting and involving wine!
The Knockoff, by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza
I am certain that I am not the only one calling this the new “Devil Wears Prada” book, and a great summer read involving fashion, technology and New York City. For me, this book did a great job of delving into some of the issues of generational bias with careers in technology, while keeping it fun. It is so easy to get caught up in Instagram, Facebook and moving to a digital world with reading newspapers, shopping and communicating. This book helps remind the younger generations (of which I am proudly a member of) the importance of relationships, loyalty and adapting in an ever-changing world. The characters in this book are real, funny, and the story is well told. I highly recommend stepping into the magazine world with Imogen Tate as her life’s work at her magazine is turned upside down and into an app.
The Nightbird, by Alice Hoffman
When I learned Alice Hoffman had written a new book, I immediately added it to the top of my increasingly growing Goodreads “To Read” list. This book is really for a middle-school audience, which are books that I have always loved – coming of age books mixed with fantasy, family secrets unraveled and love. This book is no exception to that – the story of the Twig family, made of a lonely young girl, a boy who has important secrets to hide, and a mother trying to keep these secrets hidden to keep her family safe. The magic secrets that they are hiding began to reveal themselves (in the summer, because that is when life always changes for kids coming of age, is it not?) as each of the main characters finds something that they were missing before. This is light, magical, and a book to share with your middle-school loved ones after you have experienced it.
At the Water’s Edge, by Sara Gruen
I find Sara Gruen to be an incredible storyteller. She does her research and creates unique stories for her readers. This one follows Ellis and Maddie, husband and wife, and Ellis’s friend Hank, all wealthy socialite Americans, to Scotland to search for the Loch Ness monster, in the middle of World War II. Not all of the characters are likable, and it took me awhile to figure them out – many times after being frustrated at their ignorance and rudeness I wanted to give up on them. But every character has a journey, has a monster to fight – and these ones are no exception.
I wasn’t sure when I finished this book how I felt about it, and I rank it a 4 out of 5, it was not perfect- but a month or so after finishing it, the characters have stuck with me, particularly Maddie, coming out of her comfort zone, realizing who she is and that she is lovable as herself.